Special Delivery (A Tale of Two Chairs)

Well, this was a first (and hopefully the last) type of experience in delivering a finished slipcover. With the Coronavirus on the rise, the “normal” way of doing business suddenly got turned on it’s head and forced us all to look at our processes a little differently. More on that later, but now on to the chair’s story.


My client had two chairs in her living room, one upholstered in a toile and one in a white jacquard. She had a total of ten yards of the toile fabric to make a slipcover for the white chair. Her goal was to have a matching set. Usually this yardage would be just enough, but with the large repeat in the toile pattern I was a little worried. It would take a little more strategic planning and compromise as to were the pattern matching most needed to happen so as not to waste ANY fabric. I love a good challenge.

This project could not be rushed. I usually graph out the pieces of the slipcover to ensure I have enough fabric, but with pattern matching it can be a lot trickier. In order for the two chairs to match, I wanted to be sure that certain parts of the chair matched. Those pieces included the inside back, the back, the arms, and both sides of the cushion. If I had enough fabric, I would match up the skirts with the connecting chair pieces. As it turned out I was able to accomplish all of these pieces except for one side of the skirt which was a little off, but nobody would even notice. WHEW!

I don’t normally make pattern pieces, but rather cut a measured square/rectangle piece of fabric for each piece. But with such tight fabric allowances, I made pattern pieces with a grid material I buy at Jo-Ann’s by the bolt. It allows me to to square and see through to the fabric. I laid out the pieces so I can best utilize the limited fabric.


Besides making sure the motif placement of the seat matched the other chair, I rewrapped the interior cushion with new cushion wrap to cover the shredded existing wrap ends. It gave the seat cushion a nice loft and a little more umph.

The top cushion was redesigned to mimic the box style cushion as the other upholstered chair as well as placement of the motif.

Other Details

Other design details included a black linen cording to match the other chair, a hidden black zipper and velcro skirt closure on the side back of the slipcover. All of which help to make the chair look more upholstered than slipcovered. All interior seams are serged to make for a cleaner finish and no fraying. My client chose not to prewash the fabric to retain the stiff finish on the fabric knowing that she will need to dry clean it if needed.

With the very limited amount of fabric, I lined the skirt with lining fabric instead of a self-lined skirt (a standard practice for me). I also needed to piece the interior back of the chair behind the back cushion. Pattern matching made it almost impossible to tell. I also used a coordinating fabric for the seat deck.

Comparison of Upholstered Chair vs. Slipcovered Chair


So, the moment for delivery came. At this point the client would either pick up the chair and slipcover or I would deliver it and install the new slipcover for them. However, out of extreme caution and at the request of my client, I was to leave the chair on the front covered porch. I decided to put the new slipcover on and since I couldn’t physically show her how to install it, I directed her to my video on my Facebook page on how to install a slipcover. It actually made for a beautiful backdrop picture op.

Stay safe everyone! I’m working on the new post on how I’m working through this time of isolation in all aspects.



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